Articles filed under Offshore Wind from Maryland
It is uncertain what steps the PSC will take next, although the state agency does have the authority to rescind the original approvals or amend them. In an official filing outlining the re-opening of the public comment period, the PSC said filings earlier this fall made it clear both companies are moving toward the larger turbines. It’s important to note the PSC approval was based on the “best available technology” when the ORECs were awarded and in the years since, technological advances have significantly increased the size of the proposed turbines.
Two wind farms proposed off the coast of Ocean City, Md., are getting a second look from the state of Maryland. The Skipjack Wind Farm, led by Danish company Ørsted, and the MarWin Wind Farm by Baltimore-based U.S. Wind, a subsidiary of the Italian renewable energy company Renexia, are being reviewed in response to concerns raised by Ocean City officials about the farms' impact on tourism to the famous vacation spot.
Residents and property owners fear that aside from driving tourists to vacation elsewhere, visible wind turbines could drive down real estate values. Michael James, managing partner of the 21-story Carousel Hotel at 118th Street and Coastal Highway, said he worries the sight of turbines four times taller than that building would ruin a view that people pay a premium for. “A lot of people work a long time to come to Ocean City and buy a condo,” he said. “It is a resort where view matters.”
One of the foremost concerns voiced by residents was that the MOU had been signed in July and notice of the public presentation wasn’t made till September. “I’m frustrated that it got to this point and we didn’t even know about it,” resident Marlene Quinn said. ...Each of the Fenwick Island council members who spoke at the council meeting expressed opposition to the project, although the council as a whole has not taken a position either way. All were present except council member Richard Mais.
Last week, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) fired off a letter to the PSC urging the agency to reopen the cases awarding the ORECs to the two projects and reconsider the original approvals. The MEA letter, penned by MEA Director Mary Beth Tung, cites the significantly increasing size of the wind turbines for both projects as reason enough to revisit the original approvals.
A number of surveys, including one from the University of Delaware, indicate perhaps 15-to-35 percent of tourists will stop coming as the view degenerates as a result of the offshore wind turbines. The Delaware Tourism Office reported in 2016, tourism contributed roughly $3 billion to Delaware’s gross domestic product.
If it is approved, Orsted says the "Skipjack Wind Farm will be sited at least 19 miles from the Maryland-Delaware line and 26 miles from the Ocean City pier. ...if the wind farm is approved, Orsted plans to construct an interconnection facility on Fenwick Island State Park's bay side area, with wind turbines in the ocean.
One week after proposal to swap an area of the Fenwick Island State Park to the developer of one of Maryland’s two offshore wind projects for an onshore power station in exchange for millions of dollars in amenities at the otherwise quiet park, a coalition of homeowners has fired off a letter to state officials seeking to have the project derailed.
“I was a little caught off guard with this news about the significant increase, the 853-feet high turbines,” Sen. Corozza explained. “This has significantly increased from the original proposal.” While the focus on the criticism has largely been centered around tourism, commerical fishery is also of a concern, according to Sen. Corozza, who highlighted the concerns expressed by fisherman in her district who have appeared at several public forums with a host of questions regarding the project.
"Once you include the blade, that's well over 800 feet tall, that's almost 2-and-a-half times the height of the largest building in Ocean City, so these are significant structures that are going to be placed off our coastline," Meehan said.
“Now, we understand that the developers are proposing to install 12 megawatt towers approaching 500 feet in height,” the town’s letter to Hogan reads. “In order for a structure that large to be invisible from Ocean City, they would need to be located at least 33 miles from our coast. The visual impact and the associated negative affect on tourism, property values and the environment of these giant structures, now more than twice the height of the tallest high-rise in Ocean City and allowed within 10 miles of our shore cannot be understated.”
“With the introduction of 12 MW, it is going to be the biggest machine ever deployed — the most powerful machines in the world.” The new units are bigger in megawatts generated and capacity and rotor diameter, he said. The GE turbine has a rotor diameter of 220 meters (722 feet). Each blade is 107 meters (351 feet) long, sweeping a total area of 38.000 square meters (409,000 square feet), according to Ørsted.
Construction on the 328-foot tall meteorological tower 14 miles off the coast is in full swing.
Maryland enacted into law on May 22 a commitment to add 1,200 MW of offshore wind to its 50% clean energy goal by 2030
Offshore wind energy is not a new prospect to Delaware.
These wind turbines, standing at 643 feet with red lights atop each tower in the latest proposal would be visible from the beaches of Ocean City and Assateague Island National Seashore,” he said. “The wind turbines, as currently proposed, will reduce property values, jeopardize the safety of maritime travel and pose a threat to Ocean City’s commercial fishing and tourism industries.”
Asserting “our view is not for sale,” resort officials recently rejected an olive branch of sorts from US Wind that could have provided free electric power and other concessions to Ocean City in exchange for relaxing its opposition to the distance of the offshore wind turbines.
Ocean City officials ...have asked the Public Service Commission to reconsider the project because of what they call a major increase in the proposed turbines’ height, from 200 feet to about 370 feet. A commission spokeswoman said ... its chairman has the power to reconsider a project if it has been revised significantly.
Because of the relative unknowns, U.S. Congressman Andy Harris (R-1-Md.), who represents Ocean City and the Eastern Shore, has successfully attached an amendment to the federal fiscal year 2019 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill, which would order the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study the effects of offshore wind projects on marine mammals and fish as well as the need for any mitigation measures. The amendment was authored by Harris and was passed by the committee.